Staying hydrated seems like a simple concept, right? Just drink more water. And of course, that’s a given but did you know that you might be sabotaging yourself without even realizing it? Depending on what sort of activities you utilize to stay fit and healthy, there is actually a little more to it than simply drinking an extra glass of water than you normally do.
If you’re sweating during a workout, you should be replacing the lost fluids and electrolytes. Here are 7 mistakes you might be making when it comes to rehydrating during your fitness routine.
You Don’t Hydrate Enough Before or After Exercise
You need to drink water all throughout the day, not just during your exercise. Sipping on the water during your workout is not going to be enough to keep that nagging headache at bay. It’s a good rule of thumb to drink around 20 ounces of water at least two hours before you exercise and follow that up with at least 8 ounces 30 minutes before you begin your workout.
After your workout, you should be rehydrating to replace the fluids you lost through your sweat. Furthermore, much of our hydration actually comes from our food as well so be sure to consume an adequate meal and not just some sugar-packed granola bar.
You Drink Alcohol After a Workout
Following a workout with alcohol is simply not a good way to make progress in your fitness. In truth, it’s a really great way to dehydrate yourself which is not ideal for muscle growth as it slows down the recovery process by elevating cortisol, decreasing testosterone, and inhibiting protein synthesis.
If your overall goal is to build and maintain muscle, then it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol right after a workout and focus on rehydrating your body with electrolytes and feeding it nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Additionally, overconsumption of alcohol can lead to a hangover and ultimately make your workout much more painful than it needs to be.
You Don’t Plan Your Hydration
If you intend to exercise outside like going for a walk, jogging, swimming, hiking, or even an outdoor gym, but you don’t bring any water along then you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not always convenient to have to carry around a water bottle with you, but if you’re feeling thirsty during your workout then you’re already dehydrated, and depending on where you plan to exercise a public water fountain may not be available.
If you strength train in the gym you can bring your water bottle with you, but if you plan to go for a run and carrying a water bottle with you is just not feasible, then be sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate at least an hour before you begin. If you need to drive to your destination keep water in your vehicle so you can rehydrate when you return. For more content about fitness and helpful articles check out this link.
You’re Flushing Out Your Electrolytes
This may sound contradictory, but you can actually drink too much water. Drinking too much water which contains no electrolytes can end up flushing them out of your body causing you to feel even more dehydrated. Electrolytes are minerals found in bodily fluids such as blood, urine, and sweat. They are vital for nutrient absorption in the body as well as waste removal and the distribution of water throughout the body.
This becomes more of a problem for those who exercise intensely for an hour or more. For every 30 minutes of exercise, the average person can lose around half a liter of sweat. If the electrolytes are not replaced, you can experience muscle cramps and spasms in addition to all the other symptoms that accompany being dehydrated.
You’re Choosing the Wrong Sports Drink
A common way to replace electrolytes is by consuming a sports drink, but not all of them are created equal. It’s important to do your research and choose your beverage wisely. Especially if you drink them every day. Many sports drinks contain large amounts of sugar and while sugar is necessary for proper brain function, consuming excessive amounts can negate the effects of your workout.
whenever possible, go for a sugar-free option when choosing your sports drink, but be wary of sugar replacements which can also be bad for your health. Always read the ingredient labels of what you intend to put in your body as many of the sports drinks on the market today are packed full of unnecessary fillers that won’t be doing you any favors.
You’re Magnesium Deficient
One of the most important electrolytes your body needs is magnesium. This important mineral affects many crucial body processes like regulating muscle and nerve function, maintaining blood sugar levels, and making protein, bone, and even our DNA. Not having adequate levels can lead to painful muscle spasms, fatigue, weakness, tremors, and the list goes on.
Many of us do not get enough of our daily recommended amount. Specifically young adults in their teen years and men over the age of 70. A great way to reach your daily intake goal is by adding more magnesium-rich food to your diet like whole grains, leafy greens, milk, and yogurt. You can also try supplementing, but it’s always best to get your nutrients through your food whenever possible.
You Think You’re Hungry When You’re Actually Thirsty
Anytime you think you might be hungry, try drinking a glass of water before you eat and wait 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, then you should go ahead and eat. If you’re not hungry, it was probably just your body trying to tell you that you needed to drink some water.
Getting into the habit of drinking water throughout the day will help you to differentiate hunger pangs from dehydration. Plus, drinking water before a meal helps to prevent overeating which can be a useful tool for those who struggle with this.
All in all, it doesn’t have to be difficult to stay hydrated and get the most out of your workout routine. Just be sure to avoid these hydration mistakes and you will begin to see a huge difference in your workout routine.